For gift givers perplexed by the wide range of colorful items beckoning from store shelves and Web sites, here’s a sampling of possibilities for little girls.
*A fun spin on a fairy-tale game, eeBoo’s Fairy Tale Spinner Game(ages 5 and older, $16.95) has players creating a new story based on randomly chosen elements. There are heroes, rivals, helpers, magical objects, modes of transportation, treasures and fairy-tale places. Spin the spinner and build a tall tale that might feature the princess riding away from the frog in a goat-driven cart while carrying a golden goose.
*Spin Master’s Liv Dolls (ages 5 and older, $19.95 each) reflect real girls in the way they look and what they do. Katie, Daniela, Sophie and Alexis sport shorter hairstyles, and each doll comes packed with two longer-style wigs. Each has 14 points of articulation so she can get into the action, be it playing guitar, biking, playing soccer or taking a yoga class.
Adding to the Liv Dolls universe is their very own Web site (www.livworld.com/) filled with ideas and adventures for girls. Girls access the site with a code found on the Liv Doll package.
Each doll comes with one outfit, hairstyle stand, purse and two hairstyles. Additional Fashion Packs ($14.95 each), Salon Studio ($19.95), Wig and Accessories Pack ($19.95) and Bedroom Carry Case ($19.95 each) are available separately.
*Printies Pet Design Studio by Techno Source (ages 6 and older, $19.99) combines the fun of design with making your very own stuffed play pal.
Children design their pet online and print onto a two-sided fabric sheet. Once the pet is printed, the child simply removes the excess fabric from around the sealed edges of the sheets, stuffs from the bottom and seals the opening. The starter set comes with everything needed to make six soft, cuddly pets. Other packages include ocean- and jungle-themed Printies.
*Hasbro brings Strawberry Shortcake Sweet Surprise (ages 3 and older, $22.84) to little girls this year. Making this doll extra-special is a pen that, when filled with water and frozen, reveals lipstick, eye makeup and a sweet strawberry icon on the 12-inch doll’s face. Adding to playtime are pink hair extensions, barrettes, a comb and sparkly stickers.
Also, at less than 3 inches tall, the Berry Bitty City Strawberry Shortcake Mini Dolls(ages 4 and older, $6.99 each) come with a signature aroma for each - Strawberry Shortcake, Orange Blossom, Raspberry Torte, Blueberry Muffin, Lemon Meringue and Plum Pudding. Each doll is packaged in a strawberry-shaped carrying bag and comes with a color-coordinated comb.
The Mini Dolls can get together to play at Strawberry Shortcake’s Berry Cafe play set(ages 4 and older, $34.99) where the girls gather for snacks, smoothies and fun. In an iconic strawberry shape, the cafe features doors and windows that open in the upstairs bedroom and downstairs cafe. A Strawberry Shortcake doll comes with the play set, as do plenty of accessories, including furniture, food, a spinning smoothie machine and a revolving rooftop bird that stands ready and waiting to give the Mini Dolls a ride.
*Help your preteen stand out in a fashion-conscious society with the Jakks Pacific Style Six Silk Screener (ages 8 and older, $33). With the Style Six Silk Screener, girls can create their own designs using fabric paint and stencils. The kit includes large and small silk screens, stencils and a masking board along with black, blue, red and magenta paints.
Create a brand-new look or reinvent an existing wardrobe; the Style Six Silk Screener works with most lighter-weight fabrics.
Add to the style of your young miss with the Style Six Sparkle It Gem Decorator (ages 8 and older, $17), which adds ribbon loops and jewels to her designs, the Style Six Color Effects Airbrush (ages 8 and older, $21), and the Style Six Stamp and Shine Foil Applicator (ages 8 and older, $17.99).
*Mattel’s Barbie has always been a fashion-forward girl. Now there are the Barbie Fashionistas (age 3 and older, $25 each), six dolls with 12 points of articulation and the trendiest of fashions in which to strike poses. Choose from Glam, Sassy, Wild, Cutie, Girly and Artsy.
*Bake a cake like those great creations seen on the Food Network’s “Ace of Cakes” with the Jakks Pacific’s Girl Gourmet Cake Bakery (ages 8 and older, $29.99). After baking the special minicakes in the microwave, young pastry chefs mix and roll out fondant and learn how to decorate the cakes on the Girl Gourmet rotating pedestal. The Cake Bakery comes with two cake mixes, four decorative fondant mixes, white gel, piping tube and all the tools necessary to create miniature works of art. Additional cake and fondant mixes are available separately.